Tag Archives: Ray Wenck

June 2018 Author Recap

I hope you enjoyed the previous month’s worth of introductions to authors you may not know. It was my pleasure to share such talented writers with all of you.

AUTHORSYOUSHOULD KNOWI had the idea in late May to do a month long series exposing my followers to other writers who I admire and read. When I started this project, I told no one. I wanted it to be a surprise for all the authors involved. No one knew who I was going to share or when. It was pretty cool to see the surprise coming in from those whom I featured. For those writers, I do hope it was a well-received surprise. For you readers, I hope you found a new author or two to check out and sample their work.

I want to stress that there were many other authors I could’ve included. I don’t want to upset any of my author friends that may not have been included in this first series of Authors You Should Know. Please don’t take it as a slight against you or your work.

For a recap of each author, please click their name below and it will take you to the brief post I published. I encourage you to try someone new and try one of their books. You never know when you might come across a writer you’ll absolutely have to read. It’s difficult finding readers. My hope is that you found something useful through the month of June within these posts.

 

Jason’s Authors You Should Know – June 2018

Amy Hale                    June 1

Leland Lydecker        June 2

Donna McCarthy       June 3

Vince Churchill          June 4

Mirren Hogan             June5

Brian K. Morris          June 6

SA Gibson                   June 7

Mark Pannebecker   June 8

RJ Batla                       June 9

Simon Bleaken           June 10

F. Kenneth Taylor        June 11

Brent A. Harris           June 12

MD. Parker                 June 13

Pamela Morris           June 14

Ray Wenck                 June 15

Stephanie Barr          June 16

Thomas Gunther       June 17

Greg Alldredge          June 18

C.A. King                     June 19

PC3                             June 20

Jay Noel                      June 21

Christa Yelich-Koth   June 22

Eric Asher                  June 23

Diane Morrison         June 24

John W. Smith           June 25

Lucinda Moebius       June 26

Merri Halma              June 27

Bryan Caron              June 28

Leo McBride               June 29

Aaron Hamilton         June 30

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Jason’s Authors You Need to Know – Ray Wenck

Ray2Today’s author you need to know is Ray Wenck.

Ray is a talented writer of thrillers. He’s got a whole slew of thrillers to choose from: RandomSurvivalpost-apocalyptic, zombie apocalyptic, and more. One of his latest creations is his “Pick-a-Path Apocalypse” books similar to those old “Choose your own adventure” books you remember as a kid. Ray is a prolific writer and has a thriller for just about everyone. I’ve read his book Random Survival and thoroughly enjoyed the fast paced tale.

PickAPathI first met Ray at an event in St. Louis called Contamination back in 2016. We had a fun time on our row with Ray, Vince Churchill, Eric Asher, and Amy Hale. I’ve learned a lot from Ray since then and he introduced me to my editor Jodi who does an amazing job of making my words make sense. He’s been kind enough to share a table with me at the St. Louis Wizard World Comic Con for two years and has offered to share at other cities as well though I’ve yet to be able to take advantage of the offers.

From his Amazon page:

Ray Wenck is a retired teacher and prior owner of DeSimone’s Italian restaurant. He is the author of the Danny Roth thriller series and the highly acclaimed, post-apocalyptic series, Random Survival.

The Danny Roth series includes Teammates, Teamwork, Home Team and Stealing Home and Group Therapy.

The Random Survival series includes The Long Search For Home, The Endless Hunt and Hanging On.

Also published are the humorous YA adventure, Warriors of the Court, the paranormal thriller, Ghost of a Chance. the suspense thriller, Live To Die Again and the Zombie thrillers, Tower of the Dead and Island of the Dead. His latest release is Pick-A-Path: Apocalypse, a choose your own adventure for adults.

When not writing Ray hikes, cooks and plays harmonica with whatever band will let him sit in.

To find out more about Ray, visit his website raywenck.com or his Amazon author page for a list of his books.


Come back tomorrow for another author you need to know!

Giving Back

Advice from other writers is always something to take carefully. We all have our way of doing things and we all come to success in our own way (I’m still trying to find mine!)

I enjoy encouraging other writers or would-be writers. I know what it’s like to dream of being a writer. I know how it felt when I started and I was clueless to much of the process. I know what it’s like to fret because no one knows who I am or has read my work. It sucks.

I’ve had several writers extend a hand or helpful words of wisdom and that’s been awesome.

Whenever I get the chance to help someone else out I jump on it. Who knows where the next major talent is? In this world of indie publishing where the market is oversaturated with works from misguided “writers” to super-talented authors, I want to encourage and lift up those that need a voice, that need an audience because they’re so talented and others need to know.

Have you heard of Aaron Hamilton, Thomas Gunther, Pamela Morris, Ray Wenck, Brent Harris, or Christa Yelich-Koth? Maybe, but it’s more likely you haven’t. They’re all super talented authors of scifi and/or horror (Or in Ray’s case, thrillers). I love sharing these types of writers with others because we can all use a hand once in a while. We may write by ourselves, but we need a team to share the word about our work.

One of the things I enjoy most about selling at Cons is meeting new authors/writers that are unsure what to do with their work or how to get started. I am as transparent as possible. Indie publishing is not a guarded secret, though many who haven’t tried it are as lost as I was when I started. I share my experience with anyone that asks, encouraging them to work hard at their craft and what pitfalls to watch out for. Not that I have “best-selling author” advice, but I’m more than willing to share my experience in hopes that it will inspire them to take their own journey.

Their voice, like those of the authors listed above, might be what we need next.

I hope when I meet new writers seeking advice they seek additional voices. The more information they can gather, the better informed they’ll be and maybe, just maybe, they’ll break through and be the next major indie sensation. Or maybe not. They may simply be fulfilling a lifelong goal, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Author Spotlight: Ray Wenck

As part of my ongoing series of “Author Spotlights” I’m pleased to highlight author Ray Wenck. I met Ray in June of 2016 at a convention in St. Louis. We’ve stayed in touch since then and in April of this year (less than a week from this post!) we’ll be at another convention together.


Author Spotlight: Ray Wenck

ray4-2Today I’m fortunate to present Ray Wenck, author of the Danny Roth mystery suspense series and the post-apocalyptic Random Survival series.

 

Hi Ray, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I have 11 published novels to date. I was a teacher for 35 years and owned an Italian restaurant for 25 of those years, both of which play a part in the Danny Roth series.

 

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for 6 years and a good example of the phrase ‘it’s never too late …’

 

What inspired you to start writing?

It was something I’d always wanted to do, but never had the time. Once I found the time it’s been non-stop ever since.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

My current WIP is titled A Story Best Left Untold. It’s a stand alone mystery. It developed from one sentence a friend said about their child. “That’s a story best left untold.” Although that story and this one have absolutely nothing in common, the sentence sparked something that came out to be this story. It’s funny sometimes where the inspirations come from.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I write thrillers in all styles, but my most popular series is Random Survival, a post-apocalyptic tale following one man as he tries to find his way through the chaos of a world altering event that has everyone mystified.

 

What authors influenced you?

There’s so many. Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Connolly, Robert Crais, John Sandford and a list of others.

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading D.P. Lyle’s Deep Six. Met him at some conferences and decided to read one of his books. I didn’t realize how similar our styles and main characters were. They were both former major league baseball players and both now own restaurants.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

I write five days a week usually for 3-5 hours.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

Sometimes, but once I start writing I don’t hear anything. In fact, I find it easier to write sitting in a diner then I do being home. I’m able to block out all the noise but, if I write at home, everything bothers me. The dog wants attention, unfinished chores make me feel guilty, the refrigerator calls to me. Not good.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

I understand the process so much better now. I was always a good story teller, but my craft has improved.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

That’s easy. I let the publisher come up with the idea and say yes or no.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?

I think almost anything could be an influence, but that’s not always good. I have to be careful to be true to my characters and not copy them after something I’ve seen.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

One of my favorite books was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Intense for the time.

 

How do you market your books?

As many ways as possible. I’ve done TV ads; ads on Facebook and Goodreads. But the best way I’ve found for convincing a reader to take a chance on a new author is face-to-face. I do a lot of shows. It’s easier to explain a book to someone when you don’t have to worry about word count or time. They can also feel the passion with which you explain it.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Sure, but it’s raw.

I have a story to tell, I think. Oh, not that I think I have a story, I definitely do, especially considering the small, but important part I play in it. It’s just that I’m not sure I should tell it. I mean, after all, if the facts became known, a lot of people could be in trouble, though most, I’m sure, would go to ground, scattered about the world by strong, need-to-disappear winds.

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I’m published through small presses, but because I do a lot of creative writing workshops, the question about self-publishing comes up every class. To be able to talk to them from experience I have published 2 of my novels myself, Ghost of a Chance and Live to Die Again.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

All my titles are available by going through my website: raywenck.com or on Amazon.

 

Where can we find you online?

Twitter: @raywenck

Facebook: Author Ray Wenck

website: raywenck.com

 

Any parting words for writers?

At least once a show someone will come up to me and say they’re a writer too, or they always wanted to write. The secret to writing is to sit your butt in a seat and write. My suggestion, is to write for yourself, not to get published. Have fun. Enjoy the creative process and keep going until you finish. You can always go back afterward and do rewrites, but they are much easier to do once the book is done. Some may disagree with that, but so many times I’ve talked to people who write, stop and start something new, or start, decide they don’t like it and go back and start over. Consequently, the story never advances. If you finish you can go back and fix the parts you don’t like and it won’t feel as daunting.

 

Books 2016

Every year around this time I post a list of all the books I’ve read in the past year. And every year I want to do more.

old-books-436498_960_720I’ve continued to read Daily Science Fiction. I can’t get enough of those short, entertaining stories. I tried to keep up with Every Day Fiction as well but they’ve had some serious server problems and are just now getting back to daily stories. There’s also Flash Fiction Online, Nightmare Magazine, and Lightspeed Magazine to name a few of the online ezines I’ll read from time to time. I’ve also picked up hard copies of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. None of those are mentioned below.

What follows is my list of novels, ebooks, and short story collections that I’ve read in the past calendar year (in no particular order)


Mike Wech: Seven X:Seed of Demons

Inklings Press: Tales From the Mist

Inklings Press: Tales From Alternate Earths

Iain Robb Wright: Sea Sick

Bram Stoker: Dracula

John W. Smith: Nightmares of a Madman

Ray Wenck: Random Survival

Philip K. Dick: The Variable Man 

Ben Bova: The Craft of Writing Science Fiction That Sells

Vince Churchill: The Butcher Bride 

Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book 

Luke Smitherd: He Waits 

Mark Pannebecker: Fraternity of Fractures 

Mort Castle: On Writing Horror 

Sinister Grin Press: Cut Corners Vol. 1 

Stephen King: Revival

Maria Haskins: Dark Flash 

Mary Shelley: Frankenstein 


Looking back at what I’ve read, it’s a mix of indie authors and classics as well as a couple books on writing. I’ve discovered I don’t really like “Dracula” as much as I’d hoped. However I did enjoy “Frankenstein” quite a bit. Both are far different than any movie version.

Other than the short story collections from Inklings Press, I think the other stand outs for me were Ian Robb Wright and Maria Haskins. I loved the pace and tone of Wright’s “Sea Sick” and look forward to reading more of his work. Maria Haskins has a written voice that I find engaging. More of her work is certainly on my “to read” list.

None of the books above were bad at all, which was a surprise. Normally there are a few with serious problems or weren’t quite my taste. All of the books I’ve read in the past year are worth your time (and money) to read.

Have you read any of these? Which ones stand out for you? Any books I need to read in 2017? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and recommendations.

 

The Year of Me

2016 was an interesting year. It began with the release of my first collection of dark fiction short stories (Almost) Average Anthology.

signing
At the Book House in St.Louis – my first book signing!

For those that have actually read my book, its been well received. The positive response has been humbling. I’ve met many new readers/fans and some that I’ve stayed pretty close with. My decision to create a paperback copy of what was at the time just “an experiment” in self-publishing made all the difference (thanks Dan!) I was able to do book signings and attend book fairs and conferences.

My first book signing at The Book House in St. Louis will always stick with me (thanks so much Ken!) Then my first book fair with the St.Louis Indie Book Fair was a great experience. I met the organizer Mark Pannebecker and fellow author John W. Smith. Mark also organized the book fair side to Con-Tamination which I attended and met authors Ray Wenck and Vince Churchill.

Meeting these authors has opened even more doors for me. In April I’ll be at Wizard World in St.Louis because of Ray and in September I’ll be at PennedCon in St.Louis because of John. These authors have been invaluable to me and I look forward to growing as a writer with them.

readingvacation
Reading my story “Vacation” at the St.Louis Indie Book Fair.

In 2016 I also started the year as a writer for Sum’n Unique Magazine. The founder and head guy in charge F. Kenneth Taylor has a vision for his magazine that I completely understand and support. Through him I was able to have my first book signing, first interviews, and more. From my time with S.U.M. I also met fellow writers Lakesha Mathis and Kevin Daniel. All this amazing talent! I wish I could’ve stayed with them but I needed to focus more on my fiction writing and had to step down about mid-year. If you’ve not heard of S.U.M. or their writers, I encourage you to check them out.

In the Spring of 2016 I was also surprised to have one of my stories from (Almost) Average Anthology published on the No Extra Words Podcast. Hearing my words spoken by someone else was an amazing experience.

Of course every year has it’s downside too. For me it came around June when I thought all was going well. In a sense it was going well (and still is) but I hit a bump in my writing. Everyone has critics. Everyone has more to learn in their craft. I was so caught up in thinking I knew what I was doing that when I encountered my first real criticism, it snuffed out my flame of creativity. The critiques I heard were valid and right. They were meant to help me create true works of fiction. I’ll forever be grateful for the lesson, but at the time it made me rethink a lot of what I was doing. In the end it was by far the best thing that could’ve happened to me.

Then in October I released my second collection of dark fiction short stories Moments of Darkness. This collection can be seen as (Almost) Average Anthology vol. 2. So far it’s not taken off as well as the first one but I’m hopeful it will soon. If not, that’s ok too. As I continue to write and new readers discover my work, they’ll have a back catalogue to peruse.

I started 2016 as an unpublished writer and I leave the year as the author of two collections of short stories. I’ll take that! I took my dream and made it happen. I’ve created new connections over the year that have helped me along the way. Not a bad year if I do say so myself! Thanks for sticking with me through all of this. Here’s to an even greater 2017!

Con-Tamination

Last weekend I had the opportunity to sell my books at Con-Tamination in St. Louis. Con-Tamination is a horror/scifi/pop culture convention that had been on hiatus for a few years and returned in 2016.

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Greeters at Con-Tamination 2016

I’ve never been to this con before and came across it a few months ago and figured my book of short stories fit right in so I signed up to be part of the writers organized by the St. Louis Indie Book Fair.

I enjoyed my time at the con. I got to meet several new readers as they purchased my book. I met some friendly and supportive writers in Vince Churchill, Ray Wenck, Eric Asher, Dane Kroll, and Mark Pannebecker to name a few.

Vince, Ray, Eric and I were on the same row and created a fun rivalry to see who could sell the most books. Dane joined us on the last day and fought hard for the “Golden Screw” which was nothing more than a rusty screw we found on the floor but symbolized the achievement (We can thank Vince for this!)

The con was a mix of writers, artists, vendors, and celebrities. I met an artist named Travis Molitor from the St. Louis area that did some amazing work. The celebrities ranged from former pro-wrestlers such as “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Bishop Stevens to Dirk Benedict from “Battlestar Galactica” and “The A-Team” to a former porn star named Seka. There were many other celebrities in attendance as well. It was an eclectic mix for sure.

IMG_2841
My first ever writing panel

I participated in my first panel as Mark Pannebecker and I discussed literary fiction to a crowd of about a dozen people. We answered questions from the attendees and had a great discussion about writing in general.

I didn’t have too many expectations going into this con other than trying to get new readers interested in my work and I succeeded on that part. Speaking with other vendors they felt attendance was a little light but considering there were at least two other cons going on that same weekend I can see why.

IMG_2844
Even Negan likes my book

I felt the con was a success. I didn’t make a ton of money but the connections I made were much more valuable. I plan on attending next year if they host it again. Maybe I’ll get to reclaim the “Golden Screw” from my fellow writers! If you didn’t make it out to Con-Tamination this year, consider attending next year. Should be a lot of fun.